By Sandra (Mukti) Carter, interviewed by Lori (Priya) Kenney
I don’t always know I need a Guru,” says Sandra (Mukti) Carter, “and that’s why I need a Guru!” Stating this paradox, Mukti is direct and clear. “Sometimes I think I can travel it alone. I think, ‘Why do I need a Guru? Kundalini is working inside me. I can do it alone.’ It’s resistance, of course. It always comes back to that. In vichara (guided self-inquiry), I can think I’m starting on something in another galaxy. Before long, however, there I am, right back in the same place — resistance.
“Being in resistance, and feeling myself pushing Gurudevi Nirmalananda away, is when I need her most. That’s when I get in front of my puja to pray for help and support. I struggle with completely surrendering my guard to her. I also have a sense of not being worthy to ask for her time and attention. Sometimes I don’t feel I’m fitting into the Vowed Community. Do I really need to be a vratin (one who is vowed)? Am I really her disciple? When I’m resisting, I ask myself whether I really need a Guru. Yet I have an inner knowing that I do need a Guru. I crave her deeper teachings. In Gurudevi’s presence, something amazing always happens, even if only for a fraction of a second.
“Last November’s Shaktipat Retreat was deep and magical. The February Healing Retreat was extraordinary. Gurudevi gave me my own set of home practice poses. They have been so effective. Yet, I admit, Gurudevi’s guidance and clarity can be hard to take sometimes. It’s very direct. Sometimes it might not feel loving and compassionate. Still, I know it’s coming from a place of intense love. She wants to get you to Self-Realization faster.”
Reflecting on Gurudevi as a human form of Shiva-ness, Mukti talks more about the disciple-Guru relationship. “It’s not like I’m hiding anything from her. She knows everything. So honesty isn’t about being honest with her. It’s about being honest with myself. She knows. When I try to make stuff sweet and sugary, I’m not fully owning what I’m experiencing. That, itself, is a block. I used to try to say the right thing instead of being honest. Being deeply honest is a big change for me.
“I need a Guru because I want to experience Beingness and Self-Knowingness in this lifetime. In this moment, I know that. I know Gurudevi is there. She has traversed the terrain. She’s the real deal. There are lots of teachers out there who are on the path, but she’s arrived. She is already way beyond where I am hoping to be. And I know her experience is continuing to deepen. “Gurudevi is my Buzz Lightyear. To infinity and beyond!”